Summer is a fabulous time to drink your cannabis.
Doing sporty things in the sun can bring up a strong thirst, and outdoor vacation activities — like purchasing an $18 inflatable raft called "The Gator" for a self-guided drift down the not-too-frigid Truckee River — can generate as much stress as they're meant to relieve. (To say nothing of a dusty roadside hike back to the car while schlepping The Gator sets up your bare tootsies for a painful journey laden with rocks and hot pavement.)
Still, an adult lemonade or a cannabis beverage can be a refreshing twist on that medical or recreational routine. Cannabis bees are a growing category for patients and consumers since they're the equivalent of an Izze soda, but with added effects that require some getting used to. First, for newbies who usually stick to edibles, dabbing, vaping, and smoking, keep in mind that slowly drinking small sips of cannabis quenchers is a wise first step. (You may flash back to pleasant times when lemonade was served — and yes, guzzling Crystal Light pink lemonade while mom sunned herself while gardening in the 1980s counts in this realm.) Second, the sweeteners may not fully mask that telltale, lightly herby aftertaste, so keep some breath mints handy if you'll be getting up close and personal with others after consuming them.
The Cannabis Quencher line offers traditional flavors like lemonade, strawberry lemonade, cherry, mango, and grape, all made by The Venice Cooking Company of Los Angeles. Nursing one of these single serve drinks over ice — which seems to up the citrus kick and sweet fruit flavors — is a solid way to get 100mg of THC into your body. Via the company site, the mango flavor uses terpene myrcene, "which has been shown to enhance the euphoric effects of THC." Expect to feel the relaxing effects with gradual sipping after 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the drinker, and only sample one-quarter of the bottle to see how you're feeling before going back for more. (Just store the drink for later use in the fridge.) This drink may be cloudy before serving, and definitely in need of a good shake before pouring.
Experimental types may be drawn to the "40 + 40" mango quencher in this line with a one-to-one ratio of 40mg CBD to 40mg THC. Cannabis Quencher 200 bottles go higher on the dosage level, with 200mg THC in flavors like passion fruit, which rightly smells and tastes fruity and lightly tart. For flavors, the 200 line has an old-fashioned lemonade, an on-trend blend of pomegranate, blueberry, and acai, as well as a purple-red hibiscus flavor that would not be out of place paired with a burrito from your favorite taqueria. Bay Area Indian summers means these drinks can probably be enjoyed through October, if past weather is any indication.
No Label Weed WineCalifornia is the only state where medical marijuana users can order online a product that is signed by the celeb-singer-slash-famous-lesbian Melissa Etheridge: a "private reserve" blend using organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Grenache grapes infused with hybrid strains of cannabis. Bottles of "weed wine" for in-the-know winemakers and their pals have reportedly been made by Mendocino and Humboldt County winemakers for personal consumption since the early 1980s. They used dried and ground-by-hand marijuana during the wine's cask-fermentation phase. Etheridge first became interested in learning about cannabis while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, and has been up front that the spendy product ($16 to $20 an ounce) is worthwhile for patients. Recommended dosage starts at 2 to 3 ounces, and remember: This is not your usual bottle of vino.
"No Label" wine — alternatively known as "Know Label" — launched in 2014 and is, for now, only available on the Greenway Santa Cruz website. That dispensary, founded in 2005, pulled off the rare feat of having support from both state and city authorities. Greenway's Lisa Molyneux, who is also a farmer, makes the wine via cold extraction. Producing cannabis-infused wine for consumers is a first for the U.S., but San Francisco's Merry Jane Wines lays claim to "the worlds first Cannabis Table Wine," although it's only available to members of the Fog City Collective.
Each No Label bottle lacks a label and is signed by the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. The practice may be a catchy (if cheesy) marketing tool, but it doesn't seem to fit with California law. The regulations for products containing medicinal marijuana — like the aforementioned lemonades and quenchers — mandate phrases like "for medical use," "this product may impair the ability to drive or operate machinery. Please use extreme caution," and "Keep out of reach of children and animals," all in bold print.
Beer fans will note with frothy interest that Molyneux also says she's experimenting with a cannabis-beer product line that may include an IPA, Kolsch, and beyond. If it doesn't hit the markets until well after the summer ends, at least we know the other three seasons are just as good for drinking cannabis, too.